A Platonic Kind-Based Account of Goodness

Philosophia 49 (4):1369-1389 (2021)
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Robert Adams defends a platonic account of goodness, understood as excellence, claiming that there exists a platonic good that all other good things must resemble, identifying the Good with God. Mark Murphy agrees, but argues that this platonic account is in need of Aristotelian supplementation, as resemblance must take into account a thing’s kind-membership. While this article will accept something like Murphy’s account of goodness, it will further develop its details and support. Without relying on theistic premises, I show that the metaphysical status of an individual’s goodness consists in resemblance with the platonic good. As for the distinct question of what that goodness holds in virtue of, I conclude it holds in virtue of exactly: the thing’s own properties, those properties being such as to satisfy its kind-based standards, and those K-standards resembling the platonic good. I then develop an account of how K-standards resemble the platonic good: The K-standards resemble it firstly with respect to requiring activities, as the platonic good will be posited to be active, and must resemble it secondly also at the level of what teleology those activities are directed towards. I also motivate the need for a third respect of resemblance, to be developed in future work. The article ends with a discussion of the nature of the platonic good.

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Berman Chan
Lanzhou University


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